Give me a second chance

There’s been lots of talk recently, particularly on LinkedIn, about judging people, performance management (getting rid of someone) and not giving them a second chance.
I have a story to share, it had such an impact I’m certain it helped shape who I am today.

In the 1970s my Dad worked for a motor manufacturer, having worked for them in various guises for his whole career.  As a Director he had responsibility for sales figures, and had a young graduate working with him.

One day this graduate came sheepishly in to see my Dad.  He confessed to a mistake that would likely cost the business a few hundred thousand.  A foolish mistake, and he looked terrified.

My Dad asked him what he had learned from this and they talked well into the evening. The next morning Dad gave an update to the rest of the Board and explained that no action was going to be taken against the graduate. They were understandably shocked and called for the graduate to be sacked. My Dad stood his ground, said the responsibility lay with him.

Fast forward to 1990, when a year into early retirement, my Dad died. There was a funeral and then a memorial service at Coventry Cathedral.  Both were standing room only.

I found out a lot about my Dad that day, but I can recall one conversation, word for word, to this day.

Steve, the graduate, came to introduce himself to me. I had met him when I was about 7 and all I recall was that he loved football.  Anyway, Steve told me how my Dad had supported him and gone on to mentor him throughout his career.  As the now MD of another motor manufacturer, Steve told me how he led his team, and told all new starters about Mike. My Dad.

People told me at his funeral how proud he was of me. And boy was I proud of him.

Is there someone in your team who could do with a second chance?

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